Saturday 19 January 2019

Compassionate Friends charity set to wind up

Out of tragedy, Nick and Mary Ryan founded a charity that has helped grieving parents

Nick and Mary Ryan at their home, An Teach Beag, in Hoodsgrove
Nick and Mary Ryan at their home, An Teach Beag, in Hoodsgrove

David Looby

Compassionate Friends, a charity set up for parents who lost a child, is closing at the end of October.

The charity has helped many families over the years through both emotional and also financial support.

The charity was set up in 2008 by Nick and Mary Ryan after the death of their daughter Nicola in 2002. She was fourteen years old and died from sudden cardiac death.

Nick explained that the main reason they set up the charity was to let people see they were not alone in this most terrible of losses. 'Everything changes when you lose a child,' he said. 'We are torn apart and will eventually somehow come back together but never the same. We are like a jigsaw but with a very big piece missing. As our daughter said many years later "We are a new family now". We learned so much from the loss of Nicola, such as we all grieve differently, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. We can only do it our own way. Grief comes in waves sometimes like a tsunami and others like a gentle ripple. We have learned over the years to roll with it.'

He said: 'It is important for parents to understand that even though they have lost the same child, they will not grieve the same and to have patience with each other.'

Nick said nothing is as important as our families, our children. 'To lose a child puts everything into perspective. This precious life we are given is short, sometimes like Nicola very short, we are here to care for each other, do our best for each other and at the end of life have no regrets.'

Compassionate Friends will no longer be active as a charity from the end of October. The charity was set up in 2008 and its main function was to support families in which a child had died.

The charity will hold its final get together this Sunday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. in An Teach Beag, Hoodsgrove. This is not a regular meeting but more a drop in between these times as a chance to get together and catch up. Many people have left photographs of their loved ones in the house and this is also an opportunity to collect these and any other items left.

Compassionate Friends would like to thank all those who supported them over the years, especially all those who fund-raised for them. They would like to thank all those locally who supported them, and those who helped directly with the charity which has always greatly appreciated this support.

'A special thanks to our amazing committee. They were there throughout the years. They fully gave of themselves and turned up for all events, services, meetings etc. Nothing was ever too much trouble or bother.'

Any monies left in the charity will be given to a similar charity and this has yet to be decided. All necessary bodies such as revenue and charity regulatory board will also be informed.

Mary and Nick Ryan as founders of the charity have expressed their sadness that the charity has now almost come to its completion. They want to thank all who attended the meetings and services over the years.

'Many friendships were made in these settings and these will carry on. Throughout the years we have met the most amazing people, we saw amazing strengths in the saddest of circumstances. It was our great honour to sit and be with them.'

Although the charity has almost ended, Mary and Nick are always available if anyone needs support or a listening ear.

They hope to set up a befriending service in the future, with details to be arranged. Although the charity will be finished Nick can be contacted on 087 2540355 and Mary on 086 3822624. 'We are always available if anyone would like to chat or need support. Once again we cannot fully express how grateful we are to all those who supported and gave so generously of their time over the years,' Nick said.

New Ross Standard